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NEWS | Sept. 3, 2015

Using physical fitness to overcome challenges

By Sgt. Carlene E. Vera 1st Mission Support Command

FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico - Physical fitness is a staple in the military. We are required to pass an Army Physical Fitness Test twice a year and have unit PT sessions to build camaraderie among Soldiers and leaders. Sure, sometimes it is a pain to get up early and participate in unit PT but you usually get a sense of accomplishment when it is over. Sgt. Waldemar Perez, 430th Quartermaster Company Army Weight Control Program NCOIC, has used physical fitness to overcome difficult times in his life and to help others. Perez started his military carrier at the age of 16 and after encountering difficult situations, he decided to turn to physical fitness and the gym to overcome them. 

“After finding myself in depression, instead of turning to pills, I tried the gym and I saw that day after day I started to feel better.” said Perez. 

“Many of my friends and fellow Soldiers asked me for guidance with their fitness routines and nutritional goals, so I decided to take it to the next level and get my certification as a personal trainer,” added Perez.     

After obtaining his Personal Trainer License in 2010, Perez kept working towards finding different ways to help others while finding new physical adventures to challenge himself. Partnering up with other trainers, he decided to start competing as a bodybuilder, receiving many awards during various competitions throughout the years.  

Despite many challenges that he has encountered during his career, Perez has found a way to get better and overcome his injuries by continuing his fitness routine. “I believe that because I was physically fit before I got injured, I was able to recover from my injuries a lot faster than even I thought I could.”

“I’ve seen first-hand how being physically fit helped me deal with depression and injuries, so I am even more motivated to get others involved.” said Perez who is now part of a physical trainers group called “Fit 911.” 

In collaboration with this group, Perez leads “boot camps” for civilians and the community, allowing them to get a sense of what Soldiers go through while at Basic Training and other physically-demanding activities. 

His commitment to the physical and health well-being of Soldiers, motivated him to complete the Master Fitness Trainer Course in April 2015 at Fort Knox, Kentucky.